TV UK TV

Play For Today: The General’s Day (BBC-1 1973, Alastair Sim, Annette Crosbie)

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In the stunningly good Play For Today The General’s Day elderly General Suffolk is determined to be rid of his char lady Mrs Hinch, he has formed a friendship with much younger schoolteacher spinster Miss Lorrimer and persuades her to move in to his cottage as his housekeeper which would mean there would be no further need for Mrs Hinch, but local gossip about the fact that Mrs Hinch sometimes stays rather too late at the cottage leads to some admissions from the General and a rescinding of her offer from Miss Lorrimer.

One of the very best of all of the Play For Today productions with a wonderful script from William Trevor. Alastair Sim is quite superb, a real tour de force performance towards the end of his career. There is a longish beautifully sad scene at the end where Miss Lorrimer tells the General just why she can’t be his housekeeper and he is so full of distraught resignation, the way his voice cracks as he draws out the words at the end of a sentence such “I just wanted a housekeeper” imbues it with a real sense of poignancy.

production details
UK / BBC-1 / 1×60 minute episode / Broadcast 20 November 1972 @ 9.25pm

Writer: William Trevor / Costumes: Barbara Dyer / Production Design: Tony Abbott / Producer: Irene Shubik / Director: John Gorrie

cast
ALASTAIR SIM as General Adam Suffolk
ANNETTE CROSBIE as Miss Lorrimer
DANDY NICHOLS as Mrs Hinch
NAN MUNRO as Mrs Consitine
NORMAN SHELLEY as Mr Consitine
JACK GALLOWAY as Jock
JULIA GOODMAN as Muriel
GEORGE BELBIN as Man in Bar
LALA LLOYD as 1st Lady
EILEEN HELSBY as 2nd Lady
OLIVE MERCER as 3rd Lady